"White Sands National Monument by Kimberlyann" Top 5 Page for this destination White Sands National Monument by KimberlyAnn
White Sands National Monument Travel Guide: 116 reviews and 288 photos
I was set to view White Sands as an area of interest; I was not set to fall absolutely in love with it----which I did! This place really spoke to me. It moved me emotionally in a way I never expected. It was as though I could feel the mood of this place, and I longed to stay longer ----days----and experience and photograph her many moods. Where was I? At the beach? A sandbox? A wonderful area to go sledding? It was all of this and much more, but the part that I liked wasn't any of these. What I fell in love with was the vast, silent, isolation of this desert. For White Sands is a playground for locals, but leave the crowds behind and you have an experience unlike anything I have known before. The snow white dunes of White Sands National Monument, some as high as 60 feet, form waves of sand that driven by strong southwest winds march across this vast desert at a rate of about 12 feet a year. These dunes are formed by gypsum, which is washed down into the basin from the San Andres Mountains on the west and the Sacramento Mountains to the east. These mountains are rich with gypsum because a landlocked sea was here 250 million years ago. This monument was created in 1933 to protect these unique sand dunes, and the life that may be found within this desert. Although much of this desert is bare of plant life, some of the plants you will find in this desert are yucca, saltbush, and iodinebush. Diamondback and desert massasauga rattlesnakes, insects, kangaroo rats, pocket mice, and lizards make their homes here. Also living along the edges of the desert owls and nighthawks, and animals such as kit foxes, and coyotes take advantage of the night to hunt for prey on the desert floor.
This is a picture of me taking photographs in White Sands. At this time I had a different camera, and no zoom lens. I had just gotten into doing some reading on photography, and I did not have much knowledge about taking photographs, so I did some things quite wrong. Photographing these bright, white dunes is quite difficult. The dunes have a tendency to come out gray if you rely on your camera’s internal meter. I now know that if you have the ability to do so, you should overexpose shots that are composed of mainly white dunes in order to bring out the sand’s whiteness. If I ever get back to White Sands I would try a +1 1/2 or even a +2 compensation. I did use a polarizing filter to enhance the contrast, which is recommended by the park.
My husband took this photo of me after I hiked up to the top of one of the many wonderful dunes, it will give you some idea about the size of these dunes. So if you set off across White Sands on the marked hike, be prepared to do some up and down walking across the sand. I am not a particularly religious person, in that I don’t grasp any one religious belief, but I felt a real spiritual connection to the world when I entered this wonderland of white dunes, away from the crowds, feeling its isolation and stark beauty all around me.
- Pros:Beautiful, sparkling white sand dunes.
- Cons:This desert can be extremely hot, especially in summers. Always carry plenty of drinking water
White Sands is 228 sq. miles in size; its Visitor Center is open daily except for December 25th. From Memorial Day to... more travel advice
Be aware that no water is available anywhere along the dunes drive, so fill up before venturing into the monument or at... more travel advice
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